Stakely Blog
December 15, 2022

What is Game of Chains and what it means for Cosmos?

December 15, 2022

Game of Chains is an incentivized testnet that brought together validators to test Interchain Security (ICS), one of the most promising challenges in Cosmos in 2023. ICS will be a major step for Cosmos, its developers, validators, and delegators. But, what is Game of Chains and why is it important for the ecosystem?

Competition, cooperation, anecdotes, and a lot of learning. Four intense weeks in the name of the future of the Cosmos ecosystem. Don't miss the details of Game of Chains, the impressive event that will reveal the enormous potential of the Cosmos Hub for Interchain Security.

Game of Chains prepared validators for ICS

Game of Chains (GoC) was the third incentivized testnet for Cosmos Hub validators. It consisted of testing a simulation of the ICS protocol for several weeks. The purpose of this stress test was to gather data on advantages, errors, challenges, and solutions to difficulties related to ICS, as well as to ensure the best experience for the mainnet launch.

To achieve this, GoC was designed as a competition with specific tasks, scores, and of course, winners. It also included judges responsible for enforcing the compliance of each activity, as well as collecting and solving errors and unforeseen events that may arise, along with the competitors.

It all started on November 7. For 4 intense weeks, GoC was the battlefield of approximately 100 validators among the more than 150 possible participants in the active set of Cosmos Hub.

Despite the wait to start GoC, the participants managed to launch two consumer chains, known as consumer chains: Apollo and Sputnik. But they were not the only ones! Other consumer chains were later launched to continue testing ICS, such as Gopher, Neutron, Duality, or Hero. Although most of the chains were fictional, some, such as Neutron, used this testnet as a simulation for the upcoming mainnet launch. In this way, the GoC infrastructure was composed of a provider chain, multiple consumer chains, IBC relayers, and different types of support services.

GoC demonstrated that "practice is an exceptional teacher," as the Roman writer Pliny the Younger said, and what better way to prepare for what's coming in ICS than practicing over and over again. And nothing better than a challenge to add excitement to the big event of the year in Cosmos!

Game of Chains: a window into the future of ICS

After the preliminaries, GoC participants had to overcome different tests to accumulate points and climb positions in the ranking. Some of the most important were: a) Setting up a relayer that broadcasts more than 500 packets of information about power changes among validators. b) Exercising governance to accept/reject consumer chain launches. c) Participating in consumer chain launches. d) Being penalized for inactivity when signing blocks or double signing on consumer chains.

Each challenge required coordination and a lot of availability on the part of the participating validators, both inside and outside the testnet. In fact, alongside what was happening, users, developers, and validators exchanged reflections on the risks of ICS. Points such as validation operating costs, the importance of test networks in ICS, and even alternatives to support ICS in the most comfortable and secure way possible, were part of the conversations.

Anecdotes and interesting data during GoC

  • Validators operated by employees of Informal Systems, Hypha, and Interchain Foundation were able to participate but are excluded from the rewards distribution.
  • To claim the rewards, the winners will have to pass a KYC.
  • The prizes will be financed with community funds. Did you vote on Cosmos proposal 77? It requested the approval of 20,000 ATOM for the winners.
  • The GoC testing period was extended one week longer than planned to continue testing new features.
  • Although the tests ended on December 9, the testnet intends to continue operating as a base for new practices that will be applied later on the mainnet. This will ensure that any errors that arise can be solved before they are brought to the main chain.
  • There were no shortage of memes! A small part of the score was allocated to stimulate participants who generated more content and diffusion to the event of the month: Game of Chains.
  • After Game of Chains ends, a governance proposal will be needed to activate ICS. Yes, so get ready to vote, as you did for example on proposal 65.

And the results of Game of Chains?

More than 13 chains launched, approximately 90 proposals, about 30 tasks, and the collapse of the network, just on the last day. All in 4 weeks, in which more than 100 validators shared experiences. That's how intense Game of Chains was.

The event ended on December 9 with the testnet stopped and an investigation underway to determine both the causes and the most viable solutions.

How did it happen? In the final stage, the participants of Game of Chains made the first official update on the provider chain. Then, a malicious consumer chain called Slasher was launched, whose only purpose was to slash all validators thus test the slashing rate limiter. This parameter would be responsible for limiting a large part of the network's voting power to be slashed at the same time, and, only a few validators at most will be slashed and jailed per hour.

A few hours after the update of the provider chain, an unexpected event occurred during the launch of Slasher: the provider chain stopped. It is currently unknown whether this occurred as a result of the update or the activation of the Slasher consumer chain. The results of the investigation will formally discover when ICS implementation will be ready, but it is likely that any delays will not take too long.

Stakely congratulates all validators who participated in GoC, all willing to learn as much as possible about the challenge that Interchain Security represents!

Frequently asked questions about Game of Chains

Doubts are always positive for improving understanding, so we share one in particular that you may already have.

Will ATOM stakers receive additional benefits thanks to Interchain Security?

The answer is YES. By simply staking ATOM in your trusted validator, you will receive staking rewards from both the provider chain (in this case, Cosmos Hub) and the consumer chain. Choosing a validator is another point in your favor if you choose well, take a look at the key tips for choosing the best validator!

Cosmos is a thriving ecosystem where feedback is a fundamental piece. Ergo, the direct and indirect cooperation of each system within Cosmos is key to efficiently perpetuate its useful life. In short, ICS will allow Cosmos to preserve and improve synergy. On its part, GoC will be remembered as a key preparation factor, towards the final launch of Interchain Security.

Will network fees change?

No! Our experience as users of Cosmos is based on interactions with simple and easy-to-use environments. In addition to friendly fees, a powerful advantage that ICS will preserve.

How will it be decided which consumer chains will benefit from ICS?

Game of Chains allowed validators to recreate the steps that each consumer chain will have to go through. None of them will have it easy. As the old Latin saying goes "vox populi vox dei". That's right, in Cosmos the voting power of holders will continue to be fundamental.

In conclusion, consumer chains will be decided by governance, the ICS Hub will be able to choose the entry or exit of each consuming network. Once the integration proposal is approved, the provider chain will have to synchronize to begin serving the consumer chain. Not before. The goal is to guarantee the functioning of the provider chain and the security of the network.

Game of Chains, the key for the future launch of ICS

Without this incentivized testnet, it would not have been possible to test Interchain Security to be technically prepared for its implementation on mainnet.

It has been 4 weeks of learning, cooperation, and seeking alternatives to solve possible situations that may arise with ICS.

We will closely follow the development of Interchain Security and, of course, we will share with you its most relevant advances both on the blog and on our social networks, Twitter and Telegram.

See you soon, Cosmonauts! 👋

Enjoyed this article?

Share it with your friends!


Gloria Zulay


Game of Chains prepared validators for ICS
Game of Chains: a window into the future of ICS
Anecdotes and interesting data during GoC
And the results of Game of Chains?
Frequently asked questions about Game of Chains
Game of Chains, the key for the future launch of ICS

Top articles

Join our newsletter!

Subscribe to stay informed about the latest updates, industry insights, and exclusive offers from Stakely. Be the first to know about new features, supported networks, and expert tips for optimizing your staking experience

© Stakely 2024 | Stakely, S.L. | Company Number B72551682

C/Ferraz 2, 2º Izq, 28008, Madrid, Spain